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Brooklyn Nets

Nets dominate Pistons, overtake sixth place as East playoff picture takes shape

#Nets
Brooklyn Nets celebrate (NBA Getty Images)

The Pistons rode the momentum of a five-game win streak into Brooklyn Monday night, the same streak that had given them a half-game lead over the Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Brooklyn, on the other hand, entered the night on a win streak of its own - three games to be exact - and had the opportunity to make a big statement in front of its home crowd at the Barclays Center.

In addition to the sixth seed being up for grabs, the winner of Monday night's game would win the season series between the two teams as they split the first two meetings.

The Nets rose to the occasion, putting forth a dominant performance en route to a 103-75 win over the Pistons, thanks in part to a game-high 19 points from reserve guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

While Brooklyn gained a half-game advantage over Detroit with the win, Monday night's game could come to mean much more in the grand scheme:

• A season series win for the Nets grants them the tiebreaker over the Pistons. Should the teams finish with identical records, Brooklyn would receive the higher seed; Detroit now has to finish at least one full game ahead of Brooklyn in the standings to earn a higher seed.

• The Pistons five-game losing streak coming to an end means that the Nets four-game streak is now the longest in the Eastern Conference and fourth-longest in the league (Rockets, Clippers, Spurs)

If the postseason began today…

• The Nets reclamation of the No. 6 seed would set up a meeting with the No. 3 Sixers. Brooklyn has won two of its first three meetings with Philly and led by as many as 20 points in its one loss. The division foes meet for the final time on March 28.

• The Pistons falling to the No. 7 seed would match them up with the No. 2 Raptors. Detroit, who is coached by Toronto's former head coach Dwane Casey, leads the season series 2-0 and has an opportunity to sweep its potential playoff opponent when the two teams meet on March 17.

What stands in the way…

• Brooklyn has 13 games remaining on its schedule - 11 are against teams with records at-or-above-.500 while two are against teams that have records below-.500.

- The Nets are set to embark on a six-game trip out West to take on the Thunder, Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Lakers, and Trail Blazers.

- Brooklyn also takes on Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee (two times), Toronto and Indiana during this final stretch.

- The Nets close the season at home against the Heat.

• Detroit has 16 games remaining on its schedule - half are against teams with records above-.500 while the other half are against teams that currently have records below-.500.

- Among the teams on the Pistons' schedule are the Trail Blazers (two times), Warriors, Nuggets, Pacers (two times) and Thunder.

- Detroit's games against Portland, Golden State and Denver are a part of a four-game trip out West.

- The Pistons close the season on the road against the Knicks.

What this means for the rest of the East

As the season winds down, Inpredictable gives the Raptors a 90 percent chance to finish No. 2 in the East, but the No. 3 seed is a bit trickier - the Celtics have a 56 percent chance, the Sixers have a 39 percent chance while the Pacers have a 5 percent chance to finish third.

While the regular season series between the Nets-Sixers and Pistons-Raptors might indicate advantageous potential matchups for the lower seeds, history would support that the postseason is a much different beast.

The complexities of both Brooklyn and Detroit's remaining schedules guarantees one thing: there is plenty that won't be sorted out until the final games of the regular season.

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